Beyond Kell Brook, Gennady Golovkin still craves challenges
Gennady Golovkin remains steadfast in his goal of unifying the middleweight division. He has all of the major sanctioning bodies’ belts except for the WBO title.
While he is having a difficult time attempting to get Billy Joe Saunders to sign on the dotted line for a unification fight, Golovkin would be content to just fight. However, “GGG” cannot seem to convince any top middleweight to face him, at least for now.
Enter IBF welterweight titlist Kell Brook, who will move up two weight classes to challenge one of the most dangerous punchers in boxing today.
Brook will face Golovkin in a 12-round bout of unbeaten titleholders in different weight classes on Sept. 10 at the O2 Arena in London, England. HBO will broadcast the fight live, beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT.
Golovkin has not fought since April 23, when he dominated and stopped Dominic Wade in the second round in Inglewood, California.
Golovkin (35-0, 32 knockouts) would have likely preferred to face WBO titleholder Saunders. Negotiations were promising a few months ago but Saunders decided to look elsewhere, according to K2 Promotions’ Managing Director Tom Loeffler, who represents Golovkin.
Saunders’ loss may be Brook’s gain, if the latter can pull off the monumental upset of defeating Golovkin.
If Saunders, along with other middleweights, does not want to face Golovkin, Brook will do.
“I respect Brook more because he signed the contract.” said Golovkin at Tuesday’s media luncheon in Los Angeles.
Golovkin is at the peak of his career. The consensus among media and boxing fans is that he is the best middleweight in boxing, even though Canelo Alvarez, who has been mentioned as a tentative opponent for Golovkin in 2017, holds the THE RING magazine middleweight championship.
Fighting in September allows Golovkin the possibly to fight three times in 2016. Win or lose, Golovkin is eyeing a return to the ring in December.
“I’m 34 years old,” said Golovkin, who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica. “I’m only going to be fighting for a few more years. I want to fight. Let’s make fights.”
With that, Golovkin is backed into a corner – unfairly.
Some boxing fans believe the hype that alleges he doesn’t fight the best at middleweight. Others think Golovkin is all but just a hard-hitting boxer, not taking into account that he had a stellar amateur background, winning a silver medal in the 2004 Olympic Games.
However, criticism of Golovkin fighting Brook somewhat subsided last week. At the WBC’s mandated 30-day weigh-in, Golovkin weighed 165 pounds, while Brook tipped the scale at 176 pounds.
“I was not surprised,” said Golovkin. “He’s almost as tall as me. He is big for a welterweight. He must be strong to fight me.”
The Saunders fight could come into play in December, same with the winner of the September rematch between Danny Jacobs and Sergio Mora.
And then there is aforementioned possibility of Canelo fighting Golovkin in 2017.
If there is no fight, then the back-up plan could be Golovkin moving up in weight to fight WBO super middleweight titleholder Gilberto Ramirez. Loeffler said that fight has been discussed with Top Rank Promotions boss Bob Arum.
Unifying the middleweight division is the ultimate goal for Golovkin but he cannot force fighters to face him. Instead, Golovkin will fight those who are willing to face him. Even if they are few and far between.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.